AUTISM AND THE RUBIK’S CUBE
FUN FACT – The Rubik’s Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented in 1974
FUN FACT – And was invented by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik
FUN FACT – And it was originally called the Magic Cube
Now that you’ve had time to digest these facts, you’re probably wondering A) Have I gone completely bonkers by writing a blog post about the Rubik’s cube and B) What the hell does this have to do with Autism?
Well, I’m glad you asked me those two questions, allow me to explain.
I recently came across a new Netflix documentary titled ‘The speed cubers’ now granted nothing so far here stands out, but bare with me here.
This documentary tells the story of two people Max Park and Feliks Zemdegs in the competitive world of speed cubing and how two people one with Autism and one without came together to be there for each other.
Max Park is a Korean Rubik’s Cube speed solver who formerly held the world record average of five 3x3x3 solves (by WCA traditions), 6.39 seconds, set on 23 April 2017 at OCSEF Open 2017. Prior to this, the record had been held by Feliks Zemdegs of Australia, who had improved it 9 times over 7 years from 9.21 seconds on 30 January 2010 to 6.45 seconds. Park is the only cuber other than Feliks Zemdegs to have set the record since 27 September 2009. He has also set multiple world records in solving the 4x4x4, 5x5x5, 6x6x6, and 7x7x7 cubes, and 3x3x3 one-handed.
Park holds the world record for average of five 4x4x4 solves: 21.11 seconds, set at Bay Area Speedcubin’ 21 2019. He used to hold the world record for a single solve of 18.42, before German speedcuber Sebastian Weyer took it in September of 2019.
Park holds the world records for single and average of five 5x5x5 solves: 34.94 seconds and 39.65 seconds, set at Houston Winter 2020 and Cubing USA Western Championship 2019 respectively. Prior to Park’s first 5x5x5 record, the records for single and average of five 5x5x5 solves had been held by Feliks Zemdegs of Australia, who had improved the two records a combined 32 times. Park is the only cuber other than Zemdegs to have set either 5x5x5 record since 11 August 2012
Park holds the world records for single and mean of three 6x6x6 solves: 1 minute, 9.51 seconds and 1 minute, 15.90 seconds, respectively, both set on January 25, 2020 at Houston Winter 2020.
Park holds the world records for single and mean of three 7x7x7 solves: 1 minute, 40.89 seconds and 1 minute, 46.57 seconds, set at Cubing Nationals 2019 and Houston Winter 2020 respectively.
Park holds the world record for average of five 3x3x3 solves with one hand: 9.42 seconds, set on 16 September 2018 at Berkeley Summer 2018. Park was the first person to achieve a sub-10 second one-handed average in competition, with an average of 9.99 seconds on 13 January 2018 at Thanks Four The Invite 2018. Park also holds the world record single for one-handed solving at 6.82 seconds set at Bay Area Speedcubin’ 20 2019, breaking the longest standing cubing world record which was held by Feliks Zemdegs.
At the World Championship 2017 in Paris, Park won 3x3x3 and 3x3x3 one-handed and placed 3rd in 5x5x5 and 6x6x6.
Park is the 2-time US National Champion in 3x3x3, 3-time champion in 4x4x4, 2-time champion in 5x5x5, 2018 champion in 6x6x6, 2018 champion in 7x7x7, and 2-time champion in 3x3x3 One-Handed.
Park is one of two cubers to have solved the 3x3x3 in less than 5 seconds in competition at least five times, and one of the two cubers to have achieved at least five sub-6 second averages of five 3x3x3 solves in competition.
Park has Autism and has used cubing to develop his social and fine motor skills.
For more info on Max you can follow him and his adventures on his YouTube channel
So, my reason for writing about Rubik’s cubes is that these two people who came together and Feliks didn’t see Max and his Autism in fact that was put aside as they both shared a common passion which led to a friendship which led Feliks to come to have better understanding of Max and his Autism.
The reason that this documentary worked so well was that Max’s parents were honest and upfront on the challenges of raising an Autistic child, they didn’t sugar coat it, they were worried that they would be unable to connect with Max and understand him. If it wasn’t for Max’s mum sticking a Rubik’s cube into his hand to see what would happen Max wouldn’t be where he is today. The cube became for Max his way to communicate and develop his motor and social skills.
For Feliks part he’s become Max’s mentor, someone that he looks up to, someone who he respects, in fact every time Max beats one of Feliks records, Felik reaches out to Max to congratulate him and they meet up at competitions and hang out and it’s just a beautiful friendship that’s bloomed here.
This documentary isn’t about the Rubik’s cube, it’s about friendship and how two people one who is Autistic and one who isn’t can share a common love for the competitive world of speed cubbing.
Carry On The Conversation
Have you watched this documentary?
What are your thoughts?
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.